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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 June, 2005, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
England collapse to heavy defeat
NatWest Series, The Riverside: Australia 266-5 beat England 209-9 by 57 runs

Andrew Strauss is bowled by Brett Lee
Australia finally won their first match of the NatWest Series, beating a misfiring England side by 57 runs under floodlights at the Riverside.

Invited to bat first, Australia produced a score of 266-5 with the recalled Andrew Symonds contributing a bright 73 off just 81 balls.

England then got off to a dreadful reply to be 6-3 and never recovered, finishing their innings on 209-9.

But Darren Gough hit a spirited 46 not out, the best score from England.

Both teams had shuffled their line-ups, with Australia, significantly, able to call on Brett Lee (injury) and Symonds (suspension) for the first time in the series.

England were captained by Marcus Trescothick, with Michael Vaughan missing through what was described as a minor groin injury.

Gough also returned after being rested for the match against Bangladesh, with Jon Lewis missing out.

Trescothick's decision to bat second on winning the toss looked a curious one given the normal philosophy that it is easier to bowl rather than bat under floodlights.

And the pitch played true, if a fraction slow, for Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist when play began at 1430 BST on a glorious day in the north-east.

They had added 44 off nine overs before Chris Tremlett found some extra bounce to have Gilchrist caught behind at the second attempt by Geraint Jones.

The runs kept coming for the Aussies as Ricky Ponting and Hayden moved the score to 95 in the 21st over before England could celebrate again.

This time the wicket-taker was Steve Harmison, as Ponting's slightly scratchy innings was ended with a catch taken by Ashley Giles at third man.

When Hayden was then caught behind the following over for 39, England had an opportunity to get stuck into the middle order.

But Damien Martyn (68 not out) helped Symonds add 142 in 24 overs.

Symonds was really beginning to cut loose when he was beaten by Trescothick's direct hit from mid-off with the best part of five overs remaining.

Andrew Symonds
Symonds hit four fours and two sixes in his vital knock of 73

And when the innings came to an end, Australia's 266-5 was perceived to be no better than par.

But it soon looked worth its weight in gold when England collapsed in uncharacteristic fashion.

The truth is, they were knocked off kilter by fast swing bowling from Lee and the usual metronomic accuracy of Glenn McGrath.

Trescothick, Andrew Strauss and Paul Collingwood were all dismissed playing uncertain shots - edging either onto their stumps or to the wicket-keeper.

Andrew Flintoff (44) and Vikram Solanki (34) then rebuilt the innings, seeing the new ball off before launching into some more positive shots.

They worked hard to pull the situation around, and an Australian win was by no means a certainty as England entered the middle period of their innings.

The required run rate was soaring, however, so when spinner Brad Hogg removed both right-handers in quick succession to leg-side catches, the task for the remaining batsmen was nigh-on impossible.

The relative comfort of 85-3 was now a problematic 94-5 and not even Kevin Pietersen, who made just 19, could dig England out of this hole.

But Gough - who had earlier bowled immaculately - then gave the crowd some late thrills by collaring the Aussies for seven boundaries in a final-wicket partnership with Harmison worth 50.

England: Trescothick, Strauss, Solanki, Flintoff, Pietersen, Collingwood, Jones, Giles, Tremlett, Gough, Harmison.

Australia: Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting, Martyn, Symonds, Hogg, Hussey, Watson, Gillespie, McGrath, Lee.

Report: BBC's Pat Murphy on England's defeat to Australia


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